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Race against plastic

Community action in Lake Léman sends global message against plastic pollution

Plastic pollution - image by Alejandro Laguna UN Environment

Divers and dozens of volunteers recovered and sorted 70 kg of plastic waste from the lake’s bed and shore at Europe's largest lake, Lake Léman, last week. The waste included BBQs, mobile phones, a table and a large proportion of plastic.

On 27 May, mass clean-ups and a symbolic swim have sent a message on the effects of plastic pollution from the Olympic city of Lausanne to the world.

Lausanne is lakeside town at Lac Léman which is also referred to as Lake Geneva in Switzerland, a mountainous country in central Europe.

“It’s a wonderful experience to see hundreds of people of all ages come together to clean up this beautiful lake and restore the environment. It's real team work for the planet!” said Amanda Melis, Coordinator of the Association for the Protection of Lake Léman and founder of Net’Léman.

During various events held since 2005, the initiative collected over 5 500 kg of waste within 15 metres from the shore around Lake Léman.

“Have you ever realised how much plastic you consume every week? We hope our intrepid swimmers have made you reflect about your everyday choices”, UN Environment’s Europe Office Director Jan Dusk.

At least 8 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean each year, including from lakes and rivers. This affects our health and slows down our economies.

Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down and is being ingested by birds and fish that are also part of our food chains. The fisheries and tourism sectors meanwhile lose billions in revenue each year due to marine litter.

The recent event was aligned with UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign, which works with governments, the general public, private sector and civil society to fight marine litter.

source: UN Environment (edited)

image: Alejandro Laguna - UN Environment




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